Biological Samples

trapping laws book cover

Trappers and hunters are required to submit a lower jaw or tooth from every bobcat, fisher, marten, and otter that is trapped or hunted (see instructions below). A tissue sample (small piece of tongue or meat) is also required from bobcats. These samples provide the Department with the age and sex of the harvest, which will improve the management of these species. While this is an extra burden on the fur harvesting community, the information gained will benefit these species for all Maine citizens.

Marking Samples

For each sample, fill out a jaw tag label (Species, Sex, Town, Harvest Method, Month, Year) and attach it to the sample. Since location, age, and sex are used together in the analysis, it is very important that the information on the tag reflects the sample it’s attached to.

Submitting Samples

It is the responsibility of the trapper/ hunter to provide the above described sample free of skin and excess flesh, and with a filled out tag for every bobcat, fisher, marten, and otter that is harvested. These samples should be presented to the tagging agent when any fur/animal is tagged.

Sample Collection Instructions

For Fisher, Marten, and Otter

  1. Remove a lower canine tooth or a lower jaw.
    » If removing the lower jaw, it is not necessary to provide the entire jaw, just the front portion with both of the lower canines. To prevent damaging the canine root, make sure to cut the jaw so that 3 teeth are left behind the canine teeth
  2. Fill out tag and attach to jaw.
  3. If providing only a canine, place canine and filled out tag into a sealable plastic bag.

For Bobcat

  1. Collect tissue sample from any part of the muscle. This can be taken from any part of the muscle. One of the easiest places is to cut off a 1/2 inch portion of the tongue.
  2. Place tissue sample in seal-able plastic bag and keep frozen to prevent the DNA from degrading.
  3. Fill out tag and place in bag.
  4. Remove lower jaw with both canines, see (Figure 1 - complete and partial jaw) below, or pull a lateral incisor tooth, see (Figure 2) below.
    • Please ensure that the entire incisor tooth is removed. If the root is broken, we will not be able to age the animal.
    • It is easiest to remove a lower incisor tooth when the animal is fresh and before it is frozen. Alternatively, soak the skull in almost boiling water until tooth becomes loose and can be pulled out with needle nose pliers.

For any questions about samples, please contact Shevenell Webb, Furbearer Biologist at (207) 441-9071 or

Figure 1 and Figure 2

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